Adventure Girl To The Core - Danielle DeForest
Meet Danielle DeForest – Werner Paddle Rep for Clavey Paddlesports.
Second in our Blog Series – “Meet Our Sales Reps!”
Tell us a bit about your background. When did you first get involved with paddlesports?
It began when I was a toddler on family canoe trips down the Saco River in Maine. Growing up, there was plenty of time spent in the ocean and on rafting trips but paddling didn’t make an official comeback until I was a young adult. I remember going down the Dead River in a duckie and the perm-a-grin that followed…for days! That led to a whitewater kayak and my first Werner Paddle. (See photo below.)
What was your first job? What led you to your job at Werner Paddles?
I could fill up a page with all the jobs I have enjoyed over the past 20+ years. My first job was pumping gas, I loved feelin’ all cool lifting the hood and checking the oil with the red rag I had hanging out of my rear pocket – such a tom boy. After college I quickly realized I have way too much energy to sit behind a desk or do the same thing all day every day. I did the seasonal job thing – wildland firefighter in the summer, ski patrol or ski instructing in the winter. I worked for a couple outdoor manufacturers and of course there was always retail sprinkled in which eventually led to meeting the right people and the opportunity to rep for my favorite footwear brand, which eventually led me to my favorite paddle brand, Werner Paddles.
What do you enjoy most about being a sales rep in the paddlesports industry? What’s your biggest challenge?
First question is easy…the people. Paddlers live a certain lifestyle. They are welcoming and love to share their experiences. There usually isn’t an ego involved either, and the energy is contagious. Biggest challenge, unfortunately this is easy too. I am very passionate about my job, all of my accounts – big and small – mean a great deal to me. However, I can’t be everywhere and everything for everybody, especially with this enormous territory. I have to make choices where someone isn’t going to be happy, and that weighs heavily on me.
As the Southwest Sales Rep for Werner Paddles your territory stretches from Colorado to Texas to Hawaii, to Oklahoma & Kansas, from Utah, to Arizona & New Mexico and from California to Nevada. That’s a lot of territory to cover! Tell us, is there a common paddlesports trend that you see in all of these very different geographic and demographic areas? What is the most unusual trend that you’ve come across?
Kayak Fishing is taking over the WORLD! That could be a slight exaggeration…but not by much. It’s a tough question; for example, certain areas are just now seeing real SUP growth and other areas are seeing the flip side of that. River surfing has been gaining interest and should continue this season is areas with consistent water. As for unusual, no trend in Paddlesports has really ‘shocked’ me. Trends will come and go but you can count on Werner Paddles to continue handcrafting their paddles in the USA with a focus on Ultimate Paddle Performance through our Advanced Designs and Advanced Fit options – 50 years and counting.
What’s your favorite paddlesport?
Right now…River Surfing. Why, because I can fit it in at lunch, afterwork, any time of year. I can pull over on the road and get my fix and be back at it fully refreshed. Quick, little gear, no shuttle necessary, isn’t tidal dependent, no sharks, etc.
Which Werner Paddle do you use?
Sea Kayaking – Cyprus 205cm Bent with an Ikelos 205 Bent spare Whitewater kayaking – Sherpa Carbon 194cm Bent SUP surf ocean – Nitro Bent 76”’ SUP Race – Grand Prix Bent 74” SUP Flatwater – Grand Prix Straight 76” River SUP/surf – Session adjustable